Feb 20, 2020 | Gazette, Journals, JSBM, The Latest

Guest Editors:
Prof. Roberto Parente
University of Salerno
Prof. Ki Chan Kim
Catholic University of Korea-Seoul
Prof. Alex De Noble
San Diego State University
Prof. Jeffrey Hornsby
UMCK University


The UN Declaration of the Micro and Small Business (MSMEs) Day, spearheaded by the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), has been a key milestone in the fulfillment of ICSB’s mission to support entrepreneurs and small business in progressing towards inclusive economic growth. The Declaration, while highlighting the complexity and the multidimensionality of the entrepreneurial role, recognizes the role of MSMEs in the achievement of the UN – Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The ICSB Forums held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, together with the organization of a large portfolio of congresses and conferences all around the world, have been valuable opportunities to connect and celebrate organizations and individuals committed to helping MSMEs move in the direction of creating more decent jobs while protecting the environment as well as their local communities. This movement fostered a new type of research activity around the concept of the Humane Approach to Entrepreneurship. In particular, thanks to the pioneering work of Prof. Ki Chan Kim and Ayman El Tarabishy, an international group of researchers was assembled to better define the concept (humaneentrepreneurship.org). This was intended as a model for firms’ growth based on entrepreneurial orientation, leadership, and fair human resource management. Furthermore, in a pair of articles published by JSBM (56-S1, 2018), the Humane Entrepreneurship concept was at first defined as a means to create both financial wealth and new high-quality jobs (Ki Chan et al, 2018), and, subsequently, as a strategic posture defined by the capability to provide leverage on Entrepreneurial Orientation, and at the same time,  on orientation towards executive and employees welfare and on orientation towards social and environmental sustainability (Parente et al. 2018, Parente et al. 2020).

Today, management and entrepreneurship research is theory-driven to a much larger extent. A major challenge for Humane Entrepreneurship research, therefore, is to prove the existence of Human Entrepreneurship Orientation (HumEnt) and define a measurement scale  for performing research with a solid theoretical grounding. This special issue is a starting point to make suggestions as to exactly how this should be done. We do note, however, that strategy research increasingly deals with dynamic issues that are largely entrepreneurial in nature. Potentially, Humane Entrepreneurship research can find its theoretical habitat within these dynamic approaches in strategy research. An added benefit of a solid theoretical grounding is that it may be easier for scholars to publish their work in the kind of high-quality journals that favor theory-driven research, including ICSB’s JSBM Journal which has also encouraged cutting edge research.


The focus on orientations is a well-grounded perspective from which to study entrepreneurship at the firm level (Miller and Friesen, 1982; Covin and Slavin, 1991; Lumpkin and Dess, 1996), and is in line with the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TBP) (Ajzen, 1991), which states that behavioral intentions guide our decision pathways.

From this point of view, Humane Entrepreneurship (HumEnt) can be viewed as a strategic posture which inspires new forms of eentrepreneurial strategies for wealth creation (Ireland and Al, 2001). This can be compared to the triple bottom line approach that argues for jointly optimizing social, environmental, and economic returns (“people, planet, profits”). The inventor of that concept, John Elkington, recently noted that scholars and managers have struggled to operationalize it productively. Interestingly, his proposed operationalization looks much like the theme of humane entrepreneurship proposed here (Kraaijenbrink, 2020 .) Another even older approach is from EF Schumacher’s classic Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered that argued that while humans enable any system, should systems also enable humans? One needs entrepreneurial thinking to make that happen. To Elkington’s point, how do we move from trade offs between his 3 Ps toward synergies?

The concept of HumEnt as a new theoretical construct has its roots in well-established fields of studies in Management and Entrepreneurship. One of the main inspirational sources can be found within Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a conceptualization that captures the idea that corporations have not only economic (and legal) obligations but some ethical and discretionary (philanthropic) responsibilities as well (Carroll, 1991). The CSR influence on the strategic entrepreneurship theory is not new at all, an example can be found in Hitt et al. (2011) where they argued that successful strategic entrepreneurial activity should create value for customers, stockholders, and other stakeholders.

From a broader perspective, the Humane Entrepreneurship concept is in line with a philosophical line of thought that argues over the influence of ethical dimensions in the emergence of orientations and behaviors of economic agents. Even if traces of this discourse can already be found in the works of enlightenment philosophers that defined the field of economy as a new scientific field in the 18th century,  more recently there has been a rising interest in the role of ethics in management. The ethics perspective has to lead to a fine-grain distinction between immoral, amoral and moral orientations in management (Carroll, 2001) while more recent work introduced the distinction between egotistic, altruistic and biospheric orientation (De Groot and Steg, 2008). On a positive side, Humanistic Management emerged as a managerial (and possibly entrepreneurial) orientation characterized by “management which emphasizes the human condition and is oriented to the development of human virtue, in all its forms, to its fullest extent” (Melé 2003).

Humane Entrepreneurship, as a strategic posture, is still in its infancy state and, similar to concepts focusing on entrepreneurship at the firm-level, needs an effort of clarification about the epistemology of firm-level orientations, real entrepreneurial events, and organizational performances, and the structure of the links between them (Kantur, 2014).

 Research Issues

Following is a non-exhaustive and non-exclusive list of issues and questions that might be addressed in response to this Call For Papers. Other appropriately related topics are equally welcome:

  • What are the internal and external factors that behave as antecedents of HumEnt orientation?
  • What effect does a firm’s nature of business (necessity or opportunity-driven), size, age, and/or industry have on HumEnt?
  • Is HumEnt different in different cultures and/or does it change according to different economic phases?
  • Is HumEnt able to create new organizational resources and dynamic capabilities?
  • HumEnt and Social Capital development at either the individual or organizational level.
  • How to measure HumEnt Orientations? Is it possible to have a unique index?
  • How HumEnt orientations influence the selection of entrepreneurial opportunity?
  • What are the links between HumEnt as a Strategic Posture and Strategic Entrepreneurship? Can a direct link or other factors mediate/moderate this relationship?
  • What are the links between HumEnt as a Strategic Posture and a firm’s performance? Is it a direct link or do other factors mediate/moderate this relationship?
  • Can HumEnt facilitate networking strategy and local development?
  • Progress on UN-Sustainable Development Goals achievements and HumEnt.

We especially seek empirical papers, both quantitative and qualitative. However, conceptual and theory-building papers are also welcomed.

New Deadline

Call Opens                                         February  2020
Call Ends                                           July 2020 – in conjunction with ICSB World Congress
First Revision                                    October 2020
Final Date of Acceptance                December 2020
Publication date                                April 2021

More Info:

Prof. Roberto Parente – University of Salerno

Prof. Ki Chan Kim – Catholic University of Korea – Seoul


Ajzen, I. (1991), “The Theory of Planned Behavior,” in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 50(2), 179–211.

Carroll A. (1991), “The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility: Toward the Moral Management of Organizational Stakeholders”, in Business Horizons, 34(4), 39-48.

Carroll A. (2001) “Models Of Management Morality For The New Millennium”, in Business Ethics Quarterly, Apr. Vol. 11 Issue 2.

Covin J. G., Slevin D.P. (1991), “A Conceptual Model of Entrepreneurship as Firm Behavior”, in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 16(1), 7–25.

De Groot, J., & Steg, L. (2008), “Value orientations to explain beliefs related to environmental significant behavior: How to measure egoistic, altruistic, and biospheric value orientations”. In Environment and Behavior, 40(3), 330-354.

Hitt, Ireland, Sirmon, and Trahms (2011), Creating Value for Individuals, Organizations, and Society”, in Academy of Management Executive, May 2011.

Ireland, R. D., M. A. Hitt, S. M. Camp, and D. L. Sexton (2001), “Integrating Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management Actions to Create Firm Wealth,”, Academy of Management Executive 15 (1), 49–63.

Kantur D. (2014), “Strategic entrepreneurship: Mediating the entrepreneurial orientation- performance link”, in Management Decision, Vol. 54 Issue: 1

Ki Chan K., El Tarabishy A, Tae Bae Z. (2018),  “Humane entrepreneurship: How focusing on people can drive a new era of wealth and quality job creation in a sustainable world”, in JSBM, Vol. 56 n. S1, March.

Lumpkin (2001), “Linking Two Dimensions of Entrepreneurial Orientation to Firm Performance: The Moderating Role of Environment and Industry Life Cycle,” Journal of Business Venturing 16(5).

Lumpkin, G.T. and Dess, G.G. (1996), “Clarifying the entrepreneurial orientation construct and linking it to performance”, in Academy of Management Review, Vol. 21 No. 1.

Melè D. (2003), “The Challenge of Humanistic Management”, in Journal of Business Ethics 44: 77–88.

Miller, D., P. H. Friesen (1982), “Innovation in Conservative and Entrepreneurial Firms: Two Models of Strategic Momentum”, in Strategic Management Journal 3(1), 1–25.

Parente R., El Tarabishy A., Vesci M., Botti A. (2018), “The epistemology of humane entrepreneurship: Theory and proposal for future research agenda”, in JSBM, Vol. 56 n. S1, March.

Parente R., El Tarabishy A., Botti A., Vesci M., Feola R. (2020), “Humane Entrepreneurship: Some steps in the development of a measurement scale”, in JSBM Forthcoming


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